For those of us who have never study online before, it can be a little daunting – if not a lot daunting! Will we be able to have our every question answered? Will we be able to stay motivated and/or organised for the entire course? Will we enjoy it without engaging classroom interaction? I am on track to study online from 2015, and I took to asking a friend advice about:
What is studying online really like in Australia?
Interviewee: Janet / Aged: 51-60 / Course: Cert IV Lifestyle and Health / Course length: 1 year
Briefly explain how the online class worked:
We logged in on the night and listened live to the tutor online. We could interrupt to ask questions by pressing a button that identified the student, and in return she was also able to ask us questions to confirm understanding. The entire class would be recorded and then placed onto the website the following day for future access.
How did you find communication between yourself and the tutor?
It was easy. I only rang her once but if needed to she could be emailed at any time. There was also an interactive online forum that questions could be raised and addressed by anyone in the class.
Did you become familiar with any other students?
Not particularly as I was studying in Darwin and there were no other students for this course in the region. However, in southern states, there were people near enough to each other who could meet up. In some classes, the classroom was activated early and students could have an open pre-class discussion.
What was your biggest struggle with online study?
Meeting deadlines because I’m full-time employed and part-time lazy! My biggest problem was estimating how long assignments would take to complete. The course did outline generalised times for a unit, but not for each assignment.
How did you overcome this struggle?
Fear!!! Not really, it’s just that it isn’t until you sit down to write the assignment that you realise you didn’t allow enough time. I had to ask for an extension once and definitely had to prioritise – another episode of Breaking Bad or homework, hmm?
Did this certificate build your confidence to return to further online learning?
Yes. I start a new and harder course in 2015. I proved to myself that I could do it and more importantly that I don’t have early onset dementia!
That being said, some people are purely more dependent on in-depth interaction for in-depth learning. So, before we delve into online studies, we must ask ourselves how dependent are we?